I may be a “work at home” mom, but I actually don’t spend that much time at home alone with my kids. My daughter Hannah is in school all day (at least until this Wednesday), and my son Jacob goes to preschool/daycare three days a week so that I can get some work done. On Tuesdays Jacob and I tend to run errands together, and on Thursdays we were attending a mothers’ group that I volunteered with. However, recently I stepped down from my volunteer role, and suddenly Jacob and I have Thursdays to ourselves. I was excited – a day with my son and no plans!
Jacob runs home after coming with me to drop Hannah off at school in the morning
Here’s the thing I hadn’t accounted for: spending a day at home alone with a small child is hard. If the weather is bad and that child doesn’t nap, it’s even harder. If I think back on times when I spent most of my time at home alone with a baby or toddler, I remember that I was often frazzled. I found myself counting down the time until my husband got home, when I would finally have another adult to speak with, and to make sure that my child was safe while I took a quick shower. But as you leave one parenting stage and head into the next, you forget. I hadn’t spent a rainy day at home alone with a three-year-old in a while, so I had glossed over the hard bits in my mind.
Me and my boy
I love my children more than words can say. I adore spending time with my children. I find that I enjoy that time more when I have other adults around for backup, or we’re out doing something that is fun for both of us. This is why playdates and library storytime and playgrounds and preschool open gym time were all invented. After your child has watched as much TV as you can justify and you’ve spent three or four hours fetching snacks, wiping up messes, playing Evil Emperor Zurg to your son’s Buzz Lightyear, and being accompanied on every bathroom visit, you’re kind of done. You’re ready for a break. But kids never need a break, and hence the hardness arises.
Buzz Lightyear at the grocery store
I’m really very glad that I have the freedom to spend weekdays with my son – and my daughter, too, when she’s not in school. Working from home provides a high degree of flexibility, and allows me to be there for field trips and playgroups and all of that great stuff. I really am tremendously appreciative of the privileges this lifestyle affords. But being an “at home mom” doesn’t have to mean never leaving the house, which is something I’ve recently been reminded of. Getting out is good for everyone’s sanity – especially the adult who’s spending the day with only a small child for company.
How do you keep everyone happy and entertained when you’re at home alone for the day with your kids? I’m going to need some tips if I’m going to keep my sanity now that my Thursday gig is over!